Billy Vunipola commits future to relegated Saracens

London (AFP) –


England star Billy Vunipola has pledged his future to Saracens in a bid to help the disgraced English champions return to the Premiership at the first attempt.

The reigning Premiership and European champions will be relegated from the English top-flight at the end of the current campaign as a result of salary cap breaches.

Back-row forward Vunipola accepted there could be a price to play in terms of his international ambitions if he were playing in the second tier, but said standing by the club was important.

"I'm excited for next year," he told the RugbyPass website.

"I reckon I'll play as much as I can, try to help the team as much as possible and hopefully we'll come straight back up," he said.

"I'm definitely staying," he added. "The club have looked after me, and not just me, my family. It's time for me to dig my heels in and scrap with the boys."

Vunipola, a number eight, has won 51 caps but missed England's recent Six Nations matches due to a broken arm.

The 27-year-old's career has been blighted by injuries but he hopes a spell in the Championship will allow him to make a complete recovery.

"If there's one positive to take out of it, I hope that my body will take less of a battering," he said.

"With no disrespect to the Championship, it will give my body a chance to heal. I don't think they play as many games in the Championship. They don't have (European) Champions Cup or those big games."